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  #51  
Old 06-16-2019, 12:21 PM
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Budget Player Cadet, it may be that Infinity War doesn't raise any eyebrows for making the villain the protagonist or executing a twist ending because it didn't do either of those things. Like, not even close, nor was it even trying. I mean, yeah, Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist, but then, most villains do. And if you compare to, say, Black Panther, Killmonger thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's attempting to correct real injustices that have plagued human history for centuries, while Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's insane.

I mean, I like the Marvel movies too, overall, but that's really the wrong one to pick to try to make the point.
  #52  
Old 06-16-2019, 12:47 PM
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Budget Player Cadet, it may be that Infinity War doesn't raise any eyebrows for making the villain the protagonist or executing a twist ending because it didn't do either of those things. Like, not even close, nor was it even trying. I mean, yeah, Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist, but then, most villains do. And if you compare to, say, Black Panther, Killmonger thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's attempting to correct real injustices that have plagued human history for centuries, while Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's insane.

I mean, I like the Marvel movies too, overall, but that's really the wrong one to pick to try to make the point.
It's not about his actions or his emotions (obviously the vast majority of villains think they're right, unless they're on Captain Planet), it's about screenplay structure.

Thanos is the one character in the movie who undergoes a full arc. The movie is about him, his goals, and his sacrifices to achieve it. The focus is on him fairly consistently. His hero's journey is twisted, but it is present. That's how they made the gut-punch at the end work so well.
  #53  
Old 06-16-2019, 01:33 PM
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Budget Player Cadet, it may be that Infinity War doesn't raise any eyebrows for making the villain the protagonist or executing a twist ending because it didn't do either of those things. Like, not even close, nor was it even trying. I mean, yeah, Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist, but then, most villains do. And if you compare to, say, Black Panther, Killmonger thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's attempting to correct real injustices that have plagued human history for centuries, while Thanos thinks of himself as the protagonist because he's insane.

I mean, I like the Marvel movies too, overall, but that's really the wrong one to pick to try to make the point.
Actually, no. Thanos isn't thinking of himself as a protagonist "because he's insane." He's actually trying to address a serious issue, one highlighted by Malthus over 200 years ago. His SOLUTION shows not that he's "insane", but rather that he's got a criminal mind: he thinks it's okay to end the lives of living beings simply to solve a societal problem. That makes him evil, but not insane.

Killmonger's "real injustices" that he's attempting to solve are no more "real" or worthy of solution than Thanos'. The fact that Earth hasn't quite reached the point where some solution to the Malthusian dilemma is imperative doesn't make Thanos' worries less relevant. For all we know, Zen-Whoberei really needed something done to solve over-population, for example.

Part of the difference between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame is that, in the former, Thanos is actually treated as someone who we can identify with (just as we can sympathize with Killmonger), while in the latter, earlier-Thanos is simply treated as a jerk with no redeeming factors. To me, that cheapened the second movie a bit, but I suppose it was not that important, since in Endgame, Thanos is simply there to provide an obstacle to the effort to undo the Snap.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:48 PM
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It appears that russian heel has no intention of returning to this thread.
  #55  
Old 06-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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I'll grant that Thanos was sympathetic in Infinity War, though only by virtue of a Herculean acting job by Josh Brolin. But he's definitely insane. Both his perception of the problem and his solution to it are clearly at odds with reality.

As for him being the character who gets the most focus in the movie, that's simply a consequence of there being only one bad guy but fifty bazillion good guys. Even if the good guys collectively get more screen time than him, they don't get thirty times as much collective screentime as him.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:18 PM
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Aquaman alone drags this decade's movies way down below the average.
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  #57  
Old 06-16-2019, 04:19 PM
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It appears that russian heel has no intention of returning to this thread.
Really? the thread was started yesterday. Some people have a job, responsibilities and other things to do.

I'll pinch hit for the OP because I overdid some house projects and am waiting for some OTC pain killer to kick in.

IMO the OP is commenting on the block-buster movies. I agree with the assessment that they are formulaic in nature and lack the creative content that should drive the revenue streams we're seeing.

The same thing is happening in the music industry but lets focus on moves. Big budget movies require a larger audience to make money. In order to avoid llosing large amounts of money they need to reduce the risk involved. It cost 220 million to make the last Avengers movie. It's no accident they used the same structure as the previous movies. If they lack substance it's because time and money was invested in other aspects of the movie such as CG imaging. That in itself wouldn't lessen the movie but, IMO, they have been doing so at the expense of the traditional cinematic efforts of good scripts, acting and photography.

Using Avengers Endgame as an example there was something like a 30 minute cartoon toward the end that replaced all of the conventional components of a movie. Or put another way, it was a 30 minute McDonald's Big Mac. A beloved formulaic hamburger that billions of people enjoy.

I don't think the days of cinematic excellence are gone but nobody should expect a cultural experience from big-budget movies that are risk averse. The upside of this is it's pretty easy to spot them from their commercials. The downside of this is we shouldn't expect high quality movies with big budgets that don't conform to risk-based formulas.

Last edited by Magiver; 06-16-2019 at 04:21 PM.
  #58  
Old 06-16-2019, 04:39 PM
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The same structure as which previous movies? The Marvel ones? They've had a wide variety of different structures.

And while Aquaman wasn't great, neither was it terrible. You could probably find a worse movie in theaters in any given week at random, any time since movies became mainstream.
  #59  
Old 06-16-2019, 04:43 PM
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I'll grant that Thanos was sympathetic in Infinity War, though only by virtue of a Herculean acting job by Josh Brolin. But he's definitely insane. Both his perception of the problem and his solution to it are clearly at odds with reality.

As for him being the character who gets the most focus in the movie, that's simply a consequence of there being only one bad guy but fifty bazillion good guys. Even if the good guys collectively get more screen time than him, they don't get thirty times as much collective screentime as him.
Right - that's the trick that makes it work. The Avengers are not really our protagonists. They're the heroes, but in terms of story structure they're basically Thanos's gallery of rogues, a series of challenges for him to overcome. That's how the movie gets away eith flitting so frantically between them.

Thanos doesn't have to be right or even sympathetic for this to work.
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  #60  
Old 06-16-2019, 05:19 PM
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The same structure as which previous movies? The Marvel ones? They've had a wide variety of different structures.
big budget movies of similar genre that use CG imaging in lieu of scripts and acting.
  #61  
Old 06-16-2019, 07:58 PM
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Oh. Well, none of the Marvel movies have used that structure.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:37 PM
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Thanos doesn't have to be right or even sympathetic for this to work.
Yes, but he does have to be highly animated to work.
  #63  
Old 06-16-2019, 08:51 PM
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At least part of the explanation has to be the insatiable demand of television, which is now more properly characterized as "home theater" with an incredible variety of options beyond traditional broadcast and cable. HBO has been leading the pack in this regard, with Netflix perhaps starting to catch up, but there are many others. And this has to be diverting talent that would otherwise be available for moviemaking. The miniseries format is also a new option available to these new media, which offers a richer platform than a theatrical film, one where the full scope of a story can be explored. Traditional broadcast networks have used it before, but there's a huge difference between a miniseries viewed on a small tube interspersed with incessant commercials and one viewed commercial-free on a modern large (or at least large-ish) screen. But besides that, networks like HBO have been making great films in their own right in the conventional runtime formats.

I recently finished watching the HBO miniseries Chernobyl and thought it was more impressive than most of the theatrical films that have been listed here. Last night we decided to binge-watch 11.22.63, and while I don't think it rose to the caliber of Chernobyl, it was an experience unlike anything you'd get in a theater because it had the time to fully explore Stephen King's lengthy novel without any sense of being rushed or abridged -- the sense that you always get that a movie adaptation is a sort of quick Reader's Digest highly condensed version of the novel that it's based on. And it was no small potatoes -- J.J. Abrams was one of a handful of major executive producers for it, while James Franco produced and starred along with Josh Duhamel and others. These sorts of things serve both to pull talent away from theatrical productions and make audiences less interested in leaving home to see them.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:28 PM
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Or to put it another way: Maybe we shouldn't despair that movies nowadays are so bad. Maybe we should rejoice that movies nowadays are freed of their old constraints, and that they can now be as long as they need to be and we can watch them in our favorite comfy chair and pause them whenever we need to go pee. And they're cheaper, to boot.
  #65  
Old 06-17-2019, 01:21 AM
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you know I remember complaints like this in the 80s except it was "teenage sex and party comedies especially with that red-haired girl (Molly Ringwald) and that blond haired guy (Anthony Michael Hall")
  #66  
Old 06-17-2019, 02:50 AM
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TV is much better than it has ever been before, and there's a lot more options to choose from. Blockbusters have always had a tendency to chase current popular trends, and that happens to be super hero movies right now. Great movies are still coming out every year, and some of them even happen to be super hero movies.
  #67  
Old 06-17-2019, 04:15 AM
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Okay I snipped the quote short:

"Is it serious, adult entertainment? Not really[...]"

That's what I disagree with. I think it's perfectly reasonable to see Thor: Ragnarok as serious, adult entertainment. Much like most of the Marvel movies, it's a character-driven action movie with some pretty deep themes and excellent writing.

I guess where I get confused is, what makes entertainment "adult"? I think it's about taking themes which matter to adulthood and displaying it with a level of emotional maturity in storytelling that does the theme justice. Like, to reach for my favorite example... Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is a phenomenally silly movie with a fairly consistent lightness of tone that most kids will fucking love, make no mistake... But there's enough there for one of the best movie analysts on youtube to make a 40-minute video analyzing its themes of egotism, depression, mental illness, surrogate family, et cetera.

Sorry. I thought the parentheses around "serious, adult" were implied.
  #68  
Old 06-17-2019, 04:35 AM
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Part of the problem may be the number of screens available to a movie-goer and the length of time a film stays in an accessible theatre. It may be that a great movie made it the local theatre but was pushed out in a week by a blockbuster that stayed out for weeks. If you snooze, you lose, and are left with whatever the kids are thrilled by this month, and so the overall sense is “the movies I can reasonably expect to get to are crap”
That's always been the case for those of us who lived in small towns. Mine was large enough to get the new movies at the same time as the big cities (sometimes earlier, as sneak market research), small enough that they only lasted one weekend. Sometimes people would end up going to a smaller town to watch a movie they'd missed when it was new.
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  #69  
Old 06-17-2019, 05:17 AM
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Old people are confused and angry about modern media. #shocking
This old person isn't.

Oh, sure, there is a lot that doesn't appeal to me, but one the whole I am thrilled with both the quantity and quality of choices available, and the many ways in which to enjoy it we just didn't have 40 years ago. Anything can be taken to extremes or done poorly, but things like today's computer generated effects can put images on the screen that were either difficult or impossible in the past, and often in ways much safer for the participants creating the work.

I'm sorry if someone prefers genres that are not currently the most popular these days, but even if they're not in the big theaters you can probably find them in other venues like the streaming services, or on DVD, whether old classics or new offerings.

On a certain level, what makes money is easiest to find funding to make more. Superhero movies, particularly the Marvel offerings, get funding of hundreds of millions of dollars because they make billions, and do it world-wide, and they continue to be made because they provide the audience with what it wants. It's not just Marvel and superheros, of course - there's the Mission: Impossible franchise, the Matrix, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Indiana Jones, the Jack Ryan franchise, the James Bond franchise... the action/drama (which a lot of emphasis on action) has been around since the beginning of motion pictures, as has horror, comedy, mystery, etc. The industry goes through phases where one or another is ascendant, but none of the broad categories are new.

In contrast, small intimate dramas without the superpowers, anchored more firmly in the real world, aren't blockbusters and don't make as much money. On the other hand, they don't cost as much to make, either. They are still out there, but you have to look for them.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:22 AM
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Plus, a lot of stuff that in the past would have been made into movies, is now made into "premium" TV series - often starring bona fide movie stars. I consider this a good thing.
  #71  
Old 06-17-2019, 06:32 AM
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Budget Player Cadet, it may be that Infinity War doesn't raise any eyebrows for making the villain the protagonist or executing a twist ending because it didn't do either of those things. Like, not even close, nor was it even trying.
[Endgame screenwriter Stephen] McFeely says, “[Thanos] is the protagonist. He overcomes odds. He sacrifices a lot and gets what he wants in the end.”
  #72  
Old 06-17-2019, 08:49 AM
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OK, I take it back, then, it was trying. It was just failing spectacularly.
  #73  
Old 06-17-2019, 08:54 AM
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OK, I take it back, then, it was trying. It was just failing spectacularly.
In your opinion, maybe. Many of us have established why, exactly, it didn't for most viewers.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:30 AM
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OK, I take it back, then, it was trying. It was just failing spectacularly.
How do you figure?
  #75  
Old 06-17-2019, 09:45 AM
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How do you figure?
I didn't get a sense of Thanos as protagonist at all. I also didn't get a sense of him "overcoming odds" since he basically just punches his way past any problem in the film, getting increasingly powerful and never having a serious setback. Maybe that quote was the intent but I didn't get that from the film.
  #76  
Old 06-17-2019, 05:54 PM
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I'm so sick of....

Okay, so it's not your cup o' tea.

For a while, there were*...
  • Classic Horror Movies (Frankenstein's Monster, The WolfMan, Dracula)
  • 3D Action Movies
  • Cowboy/Western Movies (Shane, The Shootist, Hang 'em High)
  • War Movies (Guns of Navarrone, Bridge over the River Kwai)
  • Exotic Location Dramas (The Last Emperor, Passage Through India)
  • Sports/Competition Dramas (The Longest Yard, Breaking Away)
  • Romantic Comedies (The Apartment, )
  • Musicals (My Fair Lady, Music Man)
  • Police Action Movies (Dirty Harry, etc.)
  • Car Racing/Chasing movies (Eat My Dust, Gumball Rally)
  • Espionage Drama, Action, and Thrillers (Bond, Osterman Weekend)
  • Space battle movies (Star Wars, Battle Beyond the Stars)
  • Sword & Sorcery Movies (Excalibur, Hawk the Slayer, Krull)
  • Superhero Movies (Superman, The Shadow, Howard the Duck)
  • Buddy Cop movies (City Slickers, Lethal Weapon, The Rookie)
  • Historical Dramas (Gandhi, Chariots of Fire)
  • Musicals (Streets of Fire, Footloose, Crossroads)
  • Sports/Competition Dramas (Bull Durham, Remember The Titans, Tin Cup)
  • War Movies (Schindler's List, Pearl Harbor)
  • Horror Comedy Movies (Teen Wolf, Frankenstein 2000)
  • Cowboy Westerns (Young Guns, Pale Rider, Unforgiven)
  • SciFi/Space Movies (Contact, Mars Attacks)
  • 3D Action Movies (I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka!)
  • Romantic Comedies (When Harry Met Sally, Working Girl)
  • Exotic location movies (Crouching Tiger, Memoirs of a Geisha, Marigold Hotel)
  • Sword & Sorcery Movies (Harry Potter, LoTR)
  • Superhero Movies (Blade, MiB, Xmen, Dark Knight)
  • Car Racing/Chasing movies (Fast & Furious 1 through 9999)
  • Horror Movies (Witch, Hereditary, etc.)


Have you noticed a repetition? It's not exactly cyclical, but there are definitely clusters. Something makes a big splash and a bunch of other studios try to cash in on the popularity. Then something else makes a big splash -- plus a trendy genre (or mix) gets over saturated. And people move on. Also, TV will try to jump on the trend and offer even more to fans. [The oddity was the spate of movies made from TV shows -- Charlie's Angels, Dukes of Hazard, Starsky & Hutch, even Scooby Doo. Those seemed to be that lack-of-good-writers problem just trying to squeeze extra bucks out of previously-popular programming.]

You don't like the current offerings# (and there are always multiple genre/themes being offered at any given time)? Sit back and re-enjoy your favorites from days of yore, and soon enough you'll find that a genre or theme has become passe and something else has become trendy.

That's just the nature of fads and fashion.

--G!

* I suspect my examples may be somewhat out-of-order from their relative historical release dates, but you'll get the gist.

# I, personally, would gladly skip the Rom/Com, Military, Car, Sports, Horror, and most of the Historical stuff. Others would prefer to skip the musicals and Cop shows.
  #77  
Old 06-18-2019, 03:52 PM
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I don't know if this is the "worst" decade. But I think the combination of CGI, uninspired writing and the economics of big-budget blockbusters tends to create an environment where a lot of good films get overshadowed by big, loud, dull CGI fests.





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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
I never did either., and yet I love comic book movies. A film like Thor Ragnarok pushes all my Star Wars-loving, Pratchett-reading, D&D-playing geek buttons. Is it serious, adult entertainment? Not really, but I've tried being a serious adult and standing here, just a month away from my 45th birthday, I can tell you that it's just not worth the effort.
Being an adult is overrated.

One problem IMHO is a lot of films fail to innovate in any meaningful way. Like how many Batmans (Batmen?) do I need to see fight how many Jokers or B-tier villains? Or they innovate in stupid ways. Switching to an all-female cast (and giving them 30% fewer "Oceans") does not meaningfully make Oceans 8 and different from Oceans 11-13.

I have to say, after two largely uninspired and dull Thor movies, it was a stroke of brilliance to make Thor 3 a sort of throw-back to something you would see painted on the side of some metal-head's van in the 1980s.
  #78  
Old 06-18-2019, 06:05 PM
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I don't like watching new movies.
  #79  
Old 06-18-2019, 07:25 PM
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I didn't think Captain Marvel was that great either, but I certainly wouldn't try to make this one movie an indictment of even the MCU movies much less all superhero movies MUCH much less all the fucking movies of the decade. That's a bit hyperbolic. It's been a great decade for movies and a great decade for superhero movies.
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